57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. Matthew 27:57-61 New King James Version (NKJV)

Every year in the spring, we remember the cross of Jesus on Good Friday, and we celebrate His resurrection the following Sunday morning. In between, we wait. I don’t often give much thought to the in-between. I’d much rather go from victory to victory in as little time as possible.

Why did Jesus wait for three days? Why did He allow the suffering of grief in the waiting? How much pain and how many tears could have been avoided had He not waited? Why did Jesus even need a tomb?

The gap is part of the story. Perhaps we understand the principle of sowing and reaping. When we plant a seed, we are rewarded with fruit. But there is a missing part in this equation, time. The harvest never comes quickly enough. If we plant today and dig tomorrow, the seed will appear to be as lifeless as when it was buried. When we wait, it comes out of the ground all by itself in God’s perfect timing.

When Jesus was planted in the tomb, there was an invisible work taking place in the heart of the earth. The roots of loneliness and loss were growing in the hearts of His friends. They had time enough to lose all hope of His return. They began making plans for a life without Him. Their faith had been pushed to the edge and then farther.

The fruit is sweeter when we wait for it to ripen. Faith is stronger when it is stretched to the point of breaking. Love grows in the loss.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24 (NKJV) 

If you are in a season of waiting, don’t waste it. Let your faith be stretched. Let your love increase. Let the fruit ripen. The tomb is temporary, Sunday is coming!

Closing Prayer
Father, I rest in your timing. Do the work in my heart that can only be done in the gap. Teach me to embrace the tomb that I might fully experience the sweetness of the resurrection.

~Jonathan Schmitz